Essential spiritual leadership need not discount the effectual practices associated with secular expectations, but Christian leaders must never permit worldly instruction to take precedence over the Glory of God. Yet in this day and age it seems that church authority has, in many cases, caved in before the demands of a society that no longer fears the wrath of our Lord. Rather than giving glory to God, we exalt man and seek to make the creature more valuable than the creator. Thus we perceive that God, obligated by his love for the creature, surrenders his authority, character, and preeminence to the object of his love.
This failure to give God the glory results in a grave error in church leadership. Challenge it. Rebuke it. Correct it.
Love, A Core Of Godly Teaching and Reliable Spiritual Leadership
Love, we are often told, is God’s sole purpose for creating man. And if not careful in our examination of God’s love, we slip into a distinctly humanist viewpoint of God, his character, and the nature of his love for his chosen people. And then we begin to image a creature crafted in the very image of God that is loved without reserve, restraint, or expectations. Thus in the name of a misunderstood concept of love, we void the very nature of God’s glory.
We proclaim God’s eternal love. Yet we accept a concept of wrath that is temporal, temporary, and certain to end on that final Day of Judgment.
Do you not understand that effectual spiritual leadership must first and foremost glorify God? If you will teach Scripture teach what it says rather than what you want it to say, keeping always at heart and in word and deed a right understanding of God’s character and person – even at the expense of losing numbers from the illusion and man-crafted blackboard of head-counts that is so often used to define “saved” souls.
If not careful in your studies and your commitment to the glory of God, you may find yourself preaching to the lusts of the flesh rather than to the salvation of the spirit.
Qualities That Follow Rightly Adjusted Spiritual Teachers
In Christianity, the qualities that comprise the individual nature of a God-called spiritual leader do not always align with the worldly concept of professionalism. Sometimes Holy Spirit inspired leadership leads one far from the beaten path of secular expectations. We learn to love, but it is a love that does not accept a presumed right to walk in sin. We learn to care, but such caring does not forsake the heavenly demand to glorify God in fullness and exactness. At times our message births a bitter response from both lost and redeemed alike. Thus we learn to preach truth in:
- Meekness but with power
- Humility but with boldness
- Love but with certainty
- AND patience but always to the Glory of God.
The Glory of God and the Character of Great Spiritual Leadership
Behold: many of the leadership concepts suggested by professional management trainers do not conflict with Christian character. Our job involves finding the balance between practical application of workable leadership principles and the certain, and unshakable, truths in Holy Scripture. Saintly Christian leadership always follows the path that brings unto God the greatest measure of glory. For though God’s love for his creation establishes a binding link between man and God, we are, in the end called into obedient servitude, humble acceptance, and sometimes even righteous indignation.
The following principles of leadership characterize the nature of effectual management as perceived by a fallen society. Many of the points begin with a secular focus that, under the default format, would ignore the concepts of essential Christian spiritual leadership. I have reworked the text, and updated the focus so that service to God becomes the core of great leadership.
1) Wise Christian Leadership Teams With Others.
Collaboration with other Christians is a sign of unity and understanding. Although history reveals times when men of God were forced to stand against established religion, for the most part great spiritual leaders seldom walked alone. Take care that you do not count your knowledge as the only knowledge. Team with others, and seek advise from the wise.
“… Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know,” (1-Cor. 8:1,2).
Invite the perspective viewpoints of fellow believers. In spite of various non-critical doctrinal issues, any person who in heart and mind glorifies God through the Son is your brother or sister in Christ. Flee foolishness that ignores the glory of God, but understand also that wisdom and open discussion can help:
- Eliminate personal spiritual blindness
- Craft better Christian character
- AND form the root of wise spiritual leadership.
2) Draw Upon the Innate Leadership Qualities Within Yourself
Perhaps you have no natural leaning toward leadership. Know this: if God called you into a position that requires you to lead others, he will guide your steps. Yet as with any endeavor, personal initiative plays a crucial role in effective performance. Identify the components of your own personality that can work to help you take charge of the position God has set before you. With practice, experience, and time you can hone your talent and further develop your skills as a spiritual leader. Examine the Scriptures and take note of the changes in individuals as they began to draw upon the innate qualities already gifted unto them. And last but not to be considered less, seek to rightly understand God’s plan for you.
“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, For in You do I trust; Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, For I lift up my soul to You,” (Psalm 143:8).
Your faith glorifies God. His calling establishes the authority of your spiritual leadership. If you should find yourself along against the major church body, as so often as did the prophets of old, examine also the possibility that you are applying some innate quality that does not fit into the righteousness of God. Bend when you should. Stand when you must.
3) Sincerity At The Heart Of Glorifying God
When individuals come to you seeking spiritual guidance, be honest, be open, and be sincere. Listen to their words, their problems, their fears, and their suggestions. We speak of God’s love for the creature so much that we sometimes think we have earned that love. And then when approached by someone in need, we also expect that they must earn our love.
- Refuse to sacrifice time to those who come for the sake of argument and foolishness. Make no promises you cannot or will not keep.
- Always help in a manner that is fitting to the situation.
- Never speak from a prideful heart:
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall,” (Prov. 16:18).
If you do not know the answer to a question, do not permit ego to bring forth a false truth. To do so is a mark of insincerity that also casts a shadow of pride before the very glory of God. Choose ignorance above a lie, and then take time to further enlighten your understanding.
4) Reputation For Reliable Christian Spiritual Leadership
Successful leaders have a balanced private and public life. A good reputation is essential to persistent success. All leadership roles invite scrutiny from others, but those in a position of spiritual leadership also invite a close-up examination of God’s glory. Maintain humility and physical activity moderation. Give no place to Satan that none may disqualify you as a leader in the house of God.
If there is any one thing that most disappoints in modern church leadership, it is an apostle, prophet, pastor, teacher, or other spiritual leader who fails to keep his or her words. Valid reasons are no excuse for failing to follow through on a commitment, for in most events “valid” is defined by personal choices. Every failure to remain firm, trustworthy and reliable undermines your authority as a Christian teacher or leader.
Be careful when giving your word. Promises may not require an accompaniment of show and presentation. Neither should a promise be made via a careless wag of the tongue.
“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil,” (Matthew 5:33-37).
Glorifying God – The Purpose of Spiritual Leadership
Christ came to save the lost, and for this we bow our heads in thanksgiving and praise. But if you think that God went on the cross to exalt the creature, you miss the purpose of creation.
He created us for his glory:
“I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him,” (Isaiah 43:6-7).
He chose us for his glory:
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,” (Ephesians 1:4-6).
- He forgives our sins for his own sake: Psalm 25:11.
- The work of the Holy Spirit is that of glorifying God: John 16:14.
- Jesus died that we might enjoy his glory: John 17:24.
And the list goes long and on, but I will end with this simple statement. Jesus endured the cross for the glory of God:
“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again,” (John 12:27-28).
Your primary calling my friend, if you are involved in Christian spiritual leadership, is to teach others in the joy of how to glorify God. This begins by leading them to the cross in such a manner as to reveal the nature of sin, the demand for payment, and Jesus Christ as the only means of acceptance. But if your message ends with the Gospel, you fail in your role of Christian spiritual leadership.
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment,” (Hebrews 6:1-2).